Smart Factory is described as an environment where machinery and equipment are able to improve processes through automation and self-optimization. The benefits also extend to functions like planning, supply chain logistics, and even product development.
The structure of a smart factory can include a combination of production, information, and communication technologies, with the potential for integration across the entire manufacturing supply chain.
All these disparate parts of production can be connected via the IoT (Internet of Things) or other types of advanced integrated circuits (IC’s), which enable sensing, measurement, control, and communication of everything that’s happening throughout the manufacturing process.
These include the intelligent sensors, motors, and robotics present on production and assembly lines that the smart factory puts to use.
Sensors make it possible to monitor specific processes throughout the factory which increases awareness about what’s happening on multiple levels. Vibration sensing can provide a warning when motors, bearings, or other equipment need to be maintained. These types of subtle warnings become alerts for preventative maintenance or other actions that head off larger production problems if left unattended.
Similarly, sensing technology on SDVs (Self-Driving Vehicles) used for material handling improves efficiency and safety as product is moved around the factory. These types of robotics have the ability to sense and avoid people, as well as unexpected obstructions in the course of doing its work. The ability to automatically avoid these common disruptions is a powerful advantage that keeps production running optimally.